Follow by Email

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Wishing joy, peace, and good health to all my family and friends.

Friday, October 7, 2011


A writing colleague and I shared a booth at the recent Librarians' Roundup sponsored by the Education Service Center, Region 20 in San Antonio, Texas. Although I offered all eleven of my middle grade/young adult biographies for sale, I especially featured the latest one: The De Leon Family of Texas, which supports the Texas history curriculum for both 4th and 7th grades. The book is available from the publisher, Hendrick-Long of Houston, in both soft cover and hard cover.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Henrick-Long Publishing Company has just released my latest middle grade biography--The De Leon Family of Texas. The book follows the life of Martin De Leon, the only Mexican empresario to help settle Texas. He and his family established what is today Victoria, Texas. Martin De Leon is a new addition to the Texas social studies curriculum for grades four and seven. The events in the lives of Martin, his wife, and his many children provide entertaining reading for seventh graders taking Texas history while providing an easily-accessed resource for fourth-grade teachers. The story of this fascinating family is set against the backdrop of important events in Texas history.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011


The book on which I am currently working features the famous rejoneadora, Conchita Cintron. She started out fighting bulls from horseback and then progressed to becoming a torera, a fighter on foot. Her entire career lasted 14 years, having begun when she was only 13.

Some "C" words that get confused:

chorale (a musical composition) and corral (a pen for cattle)

canvas (rough cloth often used for tents) and  canvass (to solicit votes or to study carefully)

carol (a Christmas song) and carrell (a small cubicle with a study desk and chair)

COMMAS in a series:
A comma goes before "and" in the series unless placing one there changes the meaning. See the two examples:

The letters were addressed to Terry, Mike, and Susan. (There were three letters--one for each person).

The letters were addressed to Terry, Mike and Susan. (There were two letters--one for Terry and one for Mike and Susan together).

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


We invite you to join the members of the SWTX-SCBWI San Antonio chapter at its annual September 17 conference--meet agents, editors, authors, and have a chance to submit to all of these.

Please follow this link to register:

Monday, June 6, 2011

"B" Careful

The homonyms today start with the letter "B." To begin, let's examine the picture. To BROWSE is to read a book casually, looking at only random passages. If we combine the foreheads of both children, we get two BROWS. Some other "B" homonyms are BOARDER (a person who pays for meals and lodging) and BORDER (a margin, rim, or edge).  Finally, we have BRIDAL (pertaining to a bride or to a marriage ceremony) and BRIDLE (the harness fitted about a horse's head).                                               
The grammar lesson today has to do with the difference in punctuating compound sentences and compound parts of a sentence.
A compound sentence is two simple sentences (two independent clauses) joined by a coordinating conjunction: and, or, but, for, yet, nor, and so.

Note: Before placing a comma, be sure that the part of the sentence on EACH SIDE of the conjunction makes sense by itself. If EITHER PART does not, do not use a comma.

  She did not seem to miss him, and Frost resented her not being as miserable as he was.

Do not put a comma (or any other kind of punctuation) between compound parts of a sentence, such as compound subjects, compound verbs, compound direct objects, compound prepositional phrases, compound adjectives, compound adverbs, etc.

He felt good about the poem and believed that he had made progress in his technique. (no comma because this a compound verb. The part after the "and" does not make sense by itself because it has no subject.)

Belle Frost decided to open a private school with her daughter Jeanie and soon-to-be daughter-in-law as teachers. (no comma because this is a compound object of the preposition; the part of the sentence after "and" does not make sense by itself.)

Example sentences were taken from my book Deep Woods: The Story of Robert Frost.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Polishing Your Manuscript with Good Grammar

For the next few blogs, I want to share some common grammar errors that make your writing not as professional as it could be. With each blog, I also plan to compare a few homonyms whose misuse also detracts from your writing.

My pet grammar peeve is the confusion of the objective and the nominative cases.

For example, The editor gave Joan and I some tips on improving our manuscript.
This is incorrect. Instead of "I," the writer should have used "me."
Tip: To check your grammar in this situation, remove the proper noun Joan and the conjunction and; then read the sentence without them.
The editor gave ME some tips on improving our manuscript.

Today's homonyms: ALLOWED (permitted) and ALOUD (spoken)
                                 ASCENT (the climb) and ASSENT (to agree)

Monday, April 25, 2011


If this is your image of today's Native American woman, you will find that belief quickly dispelled in Deerskin Daughters: True Stories of Native American Women. The manuscript is under contract with Mountain Press and will be illustrated by my friend and colleague, Carolyn Flores. Unfortunately, publishing moves rather slowly these days, and the book is not scheduled for the market until sometime in 2013. I hope you will put it on your future reading list so that you can learn about Maria Tallchief, Wilma Mankiller, Nancy Ward, Mary Musgrove, Emily Pauline Johnson, Rosebud Yellow Robe, Susette La Flesche, Mountain Wolf Woman, and Annie Dodge Wauneka--all highly accomplished Native American women.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011


This past week I had the privilege of reviewing my book Petticoat Spies: Six Women Spies of the Civil War to members of the Bexar County chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. One of the things that especially impressed me about this group of ladies was their deep respect for our nation and for our state of Texas. You could tell, as they recited pledges to both flags, that they truly meant what what they were saying.

The DAR website explains the background and purpose of this group: 
The DAR, founded in 1890 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., is a
non-profit, non-political volunteer women's service organization dedicated
to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and securing America's future through better education for children.

DAR members volunteer more than 60,000 hours annually to veteran patients,
award over $150,000 in scholarships and financial aid each year to students, and
support schools for the underprivileged with annual donations exceeding one
million dollars.

Friday, April 1, 2011


I frequently have people ask me where I get the ideas for my nonfiction books. Sometimes I start out with a definite idea for research, but often it's more of a serendipitous trail. For example, my first published book, Petticoat Spies: Six Women Spies of the Civil War, started with research on nurses, a topic that has fascinated me since childhood when I read all the Sue Barton nurse stories. When I discovered Sarah Emma Edmonds, I learned that she disguised herself as a man during the Civil War in order to be a battlefield nurse. Later, using a variety of disguises she became a spy for the North and infiltrated the Confederate lines. She suddenly disappeared as a spy after contracting malaria. Knowing that her gender would be discovered in a hospital, she returned to civilian life. After hearing her story, I decided that spies were more exciting than nurses and proceeded to look for other female spies during that same war.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Bullfighting Lady

Recently, a critique partner, knowing that I enjoy research and writing biographies, suggested that I take a look at the life of Conchita Cintron, perhaps one of the best known female bullfighters of all time. And so I began. I discovered that she wrote her memoirs and that her mother wrote a book about her as well. Other than that, most of the other sources take their information from those two books.

The life story revealed in the books is especially fascinating because she accomplished her fame in just fourteen years, beginning when she was thirteen and ending when she was twenty-seven. She didn't start out, however, to be a matadora. Rather her interest, from the age of three, was horseback riding. However, she was not satisfied with just riding, and before long had talked her instructor into teaching her to become a rejoneadora (a bullfighter on horseback).
The rest, as they say, is history. I'm looking forward to making her life story one that will be enjoyed by young adults, who don't mind a little blood along the way!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Blog Changes

After a good workshop presented by SCBWI Regional Advisor Heather Powers, I have updated the look of my blog and am in the process of adding pages about each of my published works. I invite you to take a tour of my "new look" blog.

I currently have three books, two collective biographies (Fearless Females and Deerskin Daughters) and one biography (Martin De Leon) looking for homes in the publishing world. My new research concerns Conchita Cintron and her bullfighting career. I never thought I would write anything about bullfighting but find Conchita's life story fascinating--hope readers will also.